meredith gravely.tif

Gravely

   Meredith Wilson Gravely, 82, passed away peacefully at her home on Dec. 29, 2021. Her loss has resonated throughout the community with countless lives affected by her caring and talent as a dance teacher. Her memory will live on in their lives. 

  Teresa Motley Thomson sends love to Meredith’s family at this time and shares, “I sure loved your mom, and like many others, am so blessed that she was such a big part of my life growing up. Among the many memories was the day she told our class that she had cancer and would be having surgery. She choked up a little as she told us, but quickly promised that she would return to us soon and she did. I was so worried about her then and am so happy that she had so many more years with us. She was a beautiful person, inside and out, and I will never forget her or her example of love and hard work and dedication.”

  Meredith moved to Danville as a young girl and into her Virginia Avenue home when she was 13, graduating from George Washington High School and Stratford College later in life. 

  Friend Bonnie Ross Cooper says, “Jack and I are sending our heartfelt sympathy and prayers to you and all the family. I truly can't believe Meredith has passed away. Her creative spirit will always live in my heart and in countless others. I am forever grateful for all the years I was privileged to know Meredith. She touched the lives of thousands and set an example of discipline, hard work, teamwork and excellence, and she did it all with love. One thing is for sure, she is dancing with joy in heaven and may be teaching the angels to dance.”

  Meredith became a dance teacher for Ann Boyer in 1959 and had her own school of dance in South Boston from 1959 to 1964. Beginning in 1964, she taught dance at Averett College where she choreographed numerous musicals and May Day celebrations. Meredith also taught dance at Chatham Hall prior to opening The Meredith Gravely School of Dance in 1975 where she taught dance and impacted the lives of countless young girls through her retirement in 2010.

  Alice Clement Coles looks back on those happy years dancing as she recalls, “I grew up with Meredith, attended Epiphany and always admired her business success. I recall my only recital, name of my presentation, and the colorful outfit under Ann Boyer. Meredith followed Ann Boyer and brought such happiness in dance to a generation of young women in Danville.”

  Pat Harper reminisces, “I took ballet from Meredith at Averett for one semester. I was a little too old for first time ballet lessons at that point! Later, my daughter took lessons from her at her studio in Ballou Park shopping center area, and my granddaughter took at hers (and Anne’s) studio until they moved out of state this past summer. She judged at least two pageants for me, when I taught at Tunstall High School in the early seventies. She was a strict teacher, but a generous and caring person. I really meant to send Anne pictures of my tree this year, to share with Meredith, with the ornaments that Meredith made in the years my daughter took dance and gave to each girl at Christmas. I appreciate them more with each passing year, knowing that they took a tremendous amount of time to make and were gifts of the heart. It makes me so very sad that she is no longer here. I loved her.”

  Meredith was a lifetime member of Dance Educators of America and Dance Masters of America as well as a member of The Wednesday Club and The Gabriella Garden Club. She was a lifelong member of The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany where she taught Sunday school and served on the Vestry. 

  Another dear friend, Joan D. Moore shares, “My daughter, (Stephanie Moore) and I just wanted to add our condolences to the family of Mrs. Gravely. She was truly special. Stephanie was one in her first class to go with her from Ann Boyer's studio to her own and Stephanie danced in the same class with Anne and my granddaughter Amber Moore was in one of her classes before she retired and my other granddaughter Aubree Moore started under Anne. She didn't have any classes with Meredith, but I can remember being in the studio sometime and even though she was (retired) she was still watching over things, like a mother over her babies. She will be missed!”

  Likewise, Joanne Mann Neal remembers, “My daughter Allison was a student from age 3 to 18 and the life lessons that Mrs. Gravely imparted to her were countless and impactful. My family from Northern Virginia always were amazed at the beauty, creativity and professionalism of every dance recital. Nothing up there any of us ever attended (and there were many) could ever compare to what was shared under the guidance of her dance school. She will be so very missed, but her beautiful legacy lives on in each girl/lady that she taught. I am thankful for all she gave my family and our community. Sending lots of love and hugs.”

   Meredith was a long-time survivor of breast cancer and volunteered with Reach for Recovery to help and support other women with breast cancer. 

She enjoyed knitting and made many prayer shawls for her church and friends. Meredith was a voracious reader and loved playing cards and traveling with her husband, Henry and friends.

  Paige Yeatts Cline shares some happy memories: “I received messages from my friends in Danville of Mrs. Gravely's passing, and it broke my heart. How can you describe someone who had such a major role in your life, from age 3 until I left for college. I started with her at the studio upstairs that I think she shared with Martha Fowlkes, and continued on with her at Ballou Park. I remember so many wonderful things about dancing with her; boys peeking in the windows and her chasing them away with her stick, our costumes and how she poured so much thought into those, how disciplined we were and yet so loved.” 

  She adds, “I remember her giving us ornaments at Christmas each year. Simply put, I loved her. My thoughts and prayers are with Anne Howard, Winnifred and their families. Mrs. Gravely was one of a kind, and I will carry her memory with me forever.”

  Anne Howard Satterfield shares, “My childhood and my daughter’s childhood centered around the discipline, excellence and dedication that Mrs. Gravely expected and instilled in each one of her students. It was a privilege to be her student and for my daughter, Ella Howard, to have been a part of her studio’s legacy for so many years. I can still see her standing in front of her "desk" at the Ballou Park studio calling role, "Here, Mrs. Gravely," as we offered her our courteous plie, finding the exact spot for the music to start, and her tap shoes as she taught us time steps. Her gift to so many young girls is countless. May her presence continue to live on in all the countless memories!”

  Emily Harris Thompson recalls fondly, “As a child I didn’t understand why we stood straighter when we saw her enter a room or her tight rules. As an adult, I realize what a beautiful form of tough love she instilled in everyone she met. No doubt heaven is dancing with the most beautiful red lipstick, toe pointed, big smile, eight count perfected angels the Lord has ever seen with her lovely spirit leading the way.” 

  Student Trisha Fox says, “No one had more impact on my youth than "Miss Wilson." She taught me that I could excel in something that I loved. I have thought of her often and cherish the time spent with her.”

  Kristen Houser Barker remembers so many happy times: “It would be impossible to attempt to describe the impact that Mrs. Gravely and her gift of dance has had on my life. Countless memories from that coveted piece of candy at the end of class to the special Christmas ornaments that have adorned my family’s Christmas trees from each of those 14 years of dance. I had the pleasure of returning to MGSD after college as an assistant and as a dancer once again. At the age of 48 I am still dancing. It is indeed impossible to describe the place she will always hold in my heart. It is with peace and comfort I know that she is now dancing once again!”

  Meredith Wilson Gravely was born in Richmond on April 20, 1939, the daughter of the late Winnifred Myers Wilson and Linwood Lanier Wilson. She was predeceased by her husband, Henry Linwood Gravely, whom she married on June 16, 1962.

Meredith is survived by her children: Winnifred Meredith Lindquist and her husband Kurt; Anne Howard Moore and her husband Peter and two grandsons, John Henry Moore and Wilson Winborne Moore. 

She is also survived by her sister, Linda Wilson Watkins of Roanoke and cousins, nieces and nephews.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.